Sports
The Jilted Lover Rejoices! Lebron Goes Home

The Jilted Lover Rejoices! Lebron Goes Home

The biggest professional sports play in their history is notoriously referred to as “The Fumble”. Their NFL owner literally packed up their beloved team and moved them to Baltimore in the middle of the night. Their NFL team has been in existence for 68 years and has never sniffed a Super Bowl, let alone won one. Their MLB team hasn’t won a World Series title since the ’40s. Their NBA team has been around since 1970, zero championships. Futility, thy name is Cleveland.

That’s not to say that the city hasn’t had it’s sports moments.  The Indians have found their way back…

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A Mockingbird World Cup Review (So Far)

A Mockingbird World Cup Review (So Far)

I gave myself whiplash celebrating a USA goal. When Jermaine Jones scored in the 64th minute for the US to even the score at 1-1 with Portugal, I raised my fists and snapped my head back so rapidly as I roared that I had quite the headache, and was left massaging my neck. Yes, it was idiotic, but no, I don’t regret it.

I have fully bought into the fanaticism of the World Cup. I took a little bit too much pride in being able to recite all of the possible outcomes for the US going into the final day of…

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“Lest Ye Be Judged” – Dean Esskew and his Umpire Church

“Lest Ye Be Judged” – Dean Esskew and his Umpire Church

What if you made your living passing judgement? What if you, on the rarest of occasions (and without the intention of doing so) passed judgement incorrectly? (Maybe one time in 100). What if, for each “one” time, you were mercilessly berated and held responsible for ruining the “day” of tens of thousands? Keep in mind, you were absolutely stellar and were cheered (albeit unwittingly) the other 99 times. It doesn’t matter though. That one time? It can’t possibly be made up for by the other 99 cheers you heard because, honestly?, those cheers were for someone else. That one miscue?…

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The Glory in the Struggle – Team USA at The World Cup

The Glory in the Struggle – Team USA at The World Cup

I found myself getting frustrated on my commute into work on Tuesday morning. All of the chatter on  sports talk radio was about how “lucky” Team USA was to defeat Ghana in the World Cup on Monday night, and about how poorly Team USA played. I must not have been watching the same game. I really thought I was though. First of all, do people realize that their beloved American team was not favored in this game? Ghana had knocked the U.S. (single-handedly) out of the last two World Cups, and odds were, they were going to send the U.S….

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The Death and Resurrection of the San Antonio Spurs

The Death and Resurrection of the San Antonio Spurs

The abrupt end of the NBA Finals on Sunday left me with no other option than to dedicate all my sport-watching energy to the World Cup. This transition has felt uncomfortable. I root for players I have never heard of. For countries I am ashamed to say I previously did not know existed. Watching the games, I feel like the cliché ugly American tourist, lost and confused amidst the international community of lifelong soccer hooligans. If these feelings have crystallized one thing for me, it is this: I miss the NBA. Before we, as Americans, immerse ourselves too fully in…

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A Mockingbird Guide to the World Cup

A Mockingbird Guide to the World Cup

I was nine. It was the summer of 2002 in the early hours of the morning that the US shocked Mexico in the Round of 16 in the World Cup to advance to the quarterfinal. The excitement was electric. Nobody had expected it, but the cries of “U-S-A! U-S-A!” filled the room. It was the best the USA has ever done in a World Cup.

The World Cup is a sporting event like no other. It ignites more passion than any other, and it starts in less than a week. I realized that this is only the sixth World Cup I’ve…

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The Freedom to Fail Before a Benevolent King…or “Prince”

The Freedom to Fail Before a Benevolent King…or “Prince”

Yes, that’s Prince holding a scepter while watching Rafael Nadal play at the French Open this past weekend. Larry David rocked a cape in a Seinfeld episode, but it didn’t catch on. I’m not holding out hope for the scepter as a fashion accessory fad, but I’m kind of rooting for it. Best line in the USA Today article? – “Meanwhile, the folks at Prince, the tennis equipment company, looked at Prince watching tennis and couldn’t believe they never made this connection before.” Nadal seemed to respond well to the presence of “royalty”, making quick work of his opponent in…

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The 5 Best Sports Movies You May Have Missed

The 5 Best Sports Movies You May Have Missed

Last week, as I watched 3 of my beloved TV series have their season finales – “The Good Wife” (the best show not talked about much on Mockingbird–there, I said it) “The Americans” (best 2-season binge watch currently available) and “Survivor” (the original reality show competition, accept no substitute) – it struck me that we’re entering the summer season. It’s the time of year when we go to our blu rays, On Demands, Redboxes, and Netflix to catch up on films we’ve been meaning to see, but have not because we have been too busy just trying to keep up…

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Russell Westbrook and the Arc of Expectation

Russell Westbrook and the Arc of Expectation

This week, the Oklahoma City Thunder have been trounced in the two opening games of the Western Conference Finals, losing on Monday by 17 and on Wednesday by a whopping 35. Down 2-0 in the series and without injured starter Serge Ibaka, the Thunder will most likely be eliminated by the Spurs. Perhaps in an effort to celebrate the Thunder before their season ends, Brian Philips of Grantland wrote a brilliant piece on Wednesday about the career trajectory of Thunder All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook.

Philips meditates on the perceptions of Westbrook’s unorthodox style of play. Early in his career, basketball…

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Grace…for Donald Sterling?

Grace…for Donald Sterling?

If I step on and smash an acorn, have I killed an oak tree? If I answer yes, I’m implying that the acorn has the full capacity and possesses all of the attributes necessary to one day become an oak tree. In its present form, it would be correct to say that the acorn is in a latent (not fully realized) capacity status. The human heart also has (admittedly metaphysical) latent capacities – capacities for both God-shaped goodness and unspeakable evil. Usually, much of this unrealized potential stays unrealized. Few of us act on every good or evil impulse. However,…

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Of ACLs, Tommy Johns, and “One Fine Day”

Of ACLs, Tommy Johns, and “One Fine Day”

In 2012, University of South Carolina running back Marcus Latimore was on pace to become the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, before being derailed by an (anterior cruciate ligament) “ACL” tear in his knee. In 2013, University of Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray was on the same path as Latimore, before also going down with an ACL. Both players were potential first round, ten million dollar NFL draft picks. Both were picked in the 5th round – Latimore by the 49ers, Murray by the Chiefs. The prognosis going forward is not quite as good for Latimore (he has torn his…

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Imagination, Anticipation, and our National Pastime(s)

Imagination, Anticipation, and our National Pastime(s)

My mother burst through my bedroom door after she heard a loud BANG! and the splintering of wood. “What did you do?!?” She always assumed it was me (with good reason). It was 1972. I was standing in the middle of my bedroom with my “Bobby Bonds” autographed wooden bat in hand – assuming Willie McCovey’s (semi-patented) two handed windmill stance. It was the bottom of the 9th, one on, two out, (future Hall-of-Famer) McCovey in the left-handed batter’s box, Giants down 3-2 to the much-hated Dodgers. That was McCovey’s wheelhouse, he ALWAYS came through in that moment. Sure enough,…

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The Anatomy of an Athlete

The Anatomy of an Athlete

If you haven’t read Sarah Condon’s “Coming to Terms with the American Hero Fix” in the premier issue of The Mockingbird magazine, PLEASE do yourself a favor and partake.  It stopped me in my tracks.  I had considered writing about “Boston Strong” this week – the Boston Marathon had resumed last week one year after the bombings.  The ESPN Boston Strong feature in April was tear jerking.  Sarah’s words haunted me though, and gave me pause.   The “Boston Strong” campaign just leaps off the page with glorious inspiration.  How do we not tip our caps to a city that shuts…

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Waving the Freak Flag in the Face of Playing the Game the “Right Way”

Waving the Freak Flag in the Face of Playing the Game the “Right Way”

One of my favorite missionary stories is told by Peter Letchford, a 95 year-old long time British missionary to Zambia, who relayed an exchange he had in the 1940s with a newly converted tribal chief. “The chief came to me with his newly translated bible in hand and a perplexed look on his face. It was open to Ephesians 5.  ‘Peter, please tell me how do I love all five of my wives like Christ loves his church?’, he asked”. It’s always fascinating to watch how the gospel speaks into a “not conveniently Western/American” cultural context. Peter simply smiled and said,…

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When “Idiot” Became a Term of Endearment

When “Idiot” Became a Term of Endearment

When I was in college (many years ago) I was driving with a friend and someone cut us off in traffic.  I called the guy an idiot – because that’s just what people who cut you off in traffic are.   My friend chastised me for the comment – “you know Jesus said that if you call someone an ‘idiot’ (Matt. 5:22) you won’t be able to escape the fires of hell, right?”  Yikes!  That little lecture from my friend has stuck with me for over 30 years.  I always (kind of) cringe when that word comes out of my mouth,…

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